Coming out

Coming out is defined as telling someone about yourself that isn’t immediately obvious, such as your sexuality or gender identification. Telling people that you’re gay, lesbian, bi or transgender is a gradual process for most young people. Every child will have their own way of dealing with coming out. It may be easy or difficult for some children. Some children will directly tell you whilst some might try and give you signs without having to tell you outright.

If your child has being given you signs that they want to come out, but without directly saying. You can start up a general conversation that will allow them to bring up the topic. It will be important that you actively listen to your child and discuss what they are worried about.

Accepting your own feelings

It is important that you deal with your own feelings. As a parent you might be completely comfortable with the idea that your son or daughter is gay, or you might have difficulties in coming to terms with the idea.

If you are struggling with your own feelings here are some tips to help your child. There are many myths about a person’s sexuality. Such as ‘it’s just a phase’, ‘mixing in with the wrong people’,’over-caring mother’ or ‘it can be cured’. These are wrong. If your child tells you they are gay, accept it, as they won’t have said it lightly. It is important you understand the facts rather than the myths.

Speak to family, friends, or any professional about how and why you feel the way you do.

There is plenty advice online if you would rather not talk about it.

What to say?

It will have taken a lot of courage for your child to tell you about their sexuality and now is the time they need your understanding and support.

  • Coming out is a big step for young people.
  • Accept your own feelings.
  • Discuss your child’s worries with them.
  • Your child needs your support.

Useful Contacts

There are some useful contacts out there should you or your child need further support.

FFLAG (Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Helpline

0845 652 0311

PACE (Family Therapy Service)

020 7700 1323
www.pacehealth.org.uk
www.lgbtyouthnorthwest.org.uk

LBGT Young People’s Group ‘Out Loud’

0161 336 6615
www.tameside.gov.uk/youthservices